Everything began with the arcade. The master plan specified that all the new buildings in the Oosterdokseiland development area, near Amsterdam Central Station, must include a semi-public zone. This naturally involves a loss of floor space, but the requirement makes sense—an element of this kind gives cohesion to the development as a whole. Cohesion was also a concern in the configuration of the property, because the widths of the façades are based on those of the typical canal houses in Amsterdam. be baumschlager eberle have kept to architectural tradition in the Netherlands in their choice of colors for the dark concrete façade and the contrasting window frames (green and beige). The inspiration of the canal houses can also be seen in the architectural concept devised by be baumschlager eberle. The high rectangular windows let in plenty of light for the occupants. The precisely articulated frame, with its sturdy pilasters and vertically staggered stone joints, injects rhythm into a rectangular façade that is supported by a fascinating arcade. Crowning the structure is the glass ellipse of a conference hall. Restrained plasticity, the ability to produce an unfashionable façade and the introduction of minor irritations, such as the ellipse and the zigzag in the arcade, combine to produce an architectural whole that manifests itself in an elementary and permanent manner in its urban setting. Inside, meanwhile, be baumschlager eberle have opted for neutrality of use. Flexible office spaces have been inserted between the load-bearing façade and the access cores, which means they can be adjusted at any time to the varying needs of the users. Aesthetic quality, durability and neutrality of use are the components that have a clear impact on the longevity of be baumschlager eberle's buildings. Moreover, these long-life buildings consume fewer resources, thus enabling architecture to make a contribution to sustainability.